More than 400 homes in the West Midlands are deemed too dangerous for paramedics to attend without police, it can be revealed today.
Homes with violent residents and large and aggressive pets have been recorded by bosses at West Midlands Ambulance Service who say they are too risky to visit alone.
The service has 175 properties which appear on its computer system with a ‘violence’ flag which tell crews police may be required.
There are a further 228 homes which appear with a ‘caution’ flag which gives crews the same advice about police assistance, which includes properties with dangerous pets or patients who may be aggressive due to a specific medical condition such as diabetes or epilepsy.
Crews have to decide themselves if they want to enter each of these properties without police – the service calls this a ‘dynamic risk assessment’ and it is taken on a case-by-case basis.
The exact locations of the homes are not known.
The need for the service to have such a ‘flag’ system on its computers was revealed after a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
It comes after staff at the service suffered 168 physical assaults across the region in the past financial year. 45 of the 168 recorded physical assaults were as a result of both medical and mental health conditions. There were also 298 cases of crew members being given verbal abuse across the region. There have been 17 criminal convictions for these assaults to date.
The service covers a 5,000 square mile area made up of the entire West Midlands, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Herefordshire.
Steve Elliker, the trust’s regional head of security and safety, said: “It is completely unacceptable that ambulance staff should have to face violence and verbal abuse.
“The trust has a zero tolerance policy in place and works extremely hard to bring the full weight of the law to bear on anyone who attacks our staff. It is simply not acceptable that staff who are there to help people, suffer at the hands of patients, their relatives or other people at the scene.”
Chief executive of the service Anthony Marsh said: “I am absolutely appalled by the figures for attacks on ambulance crews and I find it difficult to put into words my disgust for the people who attack our staff.”